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College paper adds trigger warnings to op-ed page saying it could ’cause emotional distress’

Student activists at Middlebury College are mad at their paper, The Campus, for being too white.

They aren’t mad enough to actually write for the paper and make it less white, apparently.

In a nauseatingly grovelling editorial Wednesday, unsurprisingly titled “A More Inclusive Campus,” the editorial board makes clear that it has no spine and will cave in to whomever claims to be “marginalized.”

It’s now adding a disclaimer to the top of the Opinion page in print and online stating that “reader op-eds do not reflect the opinion of the board.” Seriously, ignorant student whiners can’t tell the difference:

First, the [Feb. 15 letter from “cultural organizations” to the campus] calls on The Campus to, “place explicit and clearly visible disclaimers on op-eds and guest contributions stating that the publication does not share the views of the guest contributor, online and in print.” We want to reiterate that there is already such a disclaimer in the masthead of the paper that explicitly states that reader contributions do not reflect the opinions of the board. To clarify, an “op-ed,” short for “opposite the editorial page,” is traditionally a piece written by an author unaffiliated with a publication’s editorial staff.

That’s not the least of it:

Likewise, a content warning for the op-eds within this section has been added to the area under the masthead, cautioning that some content could cause emotional distress.

Yep, trigger warnings. Next you’ll see a masthead apology for continuing to kill trees to print newspapers. Next in the paper’s surrender:

The letter also asked The Campus to “create a foundation for collaboration with cultural organizations to create an inclusive journalistic forum, which instead of sensationalizing black and brown pain, produces accurate, thoughtful and anti-racist work.” We disagree that The Campus sensationalizes the pain of our peers. But we do agree that our board suffers acutely from a lack of racially diverse voices. This deficiency calls our credibility as a publication that reflects the entire student body into question. The Campus is worse off without significant diversity in the room.

That’s why the editor-in-chief and opinions editor met with the Black Student Union and incorporated its talking points into an editorial on cultural appropriation.

You might ask yourself why these student activists don’t simply write for The Campus instead of whining and threatening it. The editorial board is wondering too:

Finally, the letter implores this publication to recognize the historical whiteness of journalism and to amplify the voices that have been silenced. … This paper may be the product of white hegemony, but it does not have to continue to be a space where the majority of contributors are white. Going forward, cooperation and diligent effort needs to come from all sides. We hope that students will meet us halfway by submitting op-eds or signing up to write for the paper so they can eventually rise the ranks to editor.

Will this remotely satisfy critics of The Campus? No. But it will give editorial board members temporary relief from white guilt.

Read the editorial.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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